Nya framgångar

Vårt lilla forskningsprojekt kring mobil live video för räddningsinsatser lever som ni alla vet vidare i en kommersiell form. Sedan januari finns LiveResponse att köpa som tjänst. Igår kväll blev LiveResponse tillsammans med Räddningstjänsten i Stor-Göteborg vinnare av Cut-the-Wire Awards i kategorin offentlig sektor. Den namnkunniga juryn hade följande motivering:

“Innovative usage of high speed mobile connectivity, mobile video streaming services and positioning in a mission critical usage environment. A practical and useful mobile service area that really makes a difference.”(länk)

IDG.se och tidskriften CIO på webben finns en bra intervju med stf Räddningschef på Räddningstjänsten i Stor-Göteborg om hur de använder LiveResponse och de fördelar som upplevs.

Att det en gång lilla forskningsprojektet skulle gå och vinna mobilpris var inget vi kunde tänka då projektet formulerades vintern 2008. Det känns väldigt hedrande med utmärkelsen och ett fint bevis att de projekt som bedrivs på Lindholmen i Göteborg med finansiering av bland annat MSB faktiskt kan leda längre än enbart välpublicerade forskningsartiklar.

Designing for talk

There are some really good studies about mobile phone conversations. To my surprise there seems to be very litte done in terms of materializing the design insights put forward in those studies. During the MEX2010 conference on Mobile User Experience, one of the key-note speakers made the bold statement “designing for talk is completed”. My reaction is the opposite, design for talk has a long way to go. Currently we see great efforts in using voice as input method when controlling the device or app. But where are all the solutions that actually focus on what I say when I have a mobile phone conversation. The number of references we do to places, location in time, people, etc is significant. One can imagine the various services we could build that provide cues based on just a very simple keyword search, while we are talking. When I say “we could perhaps meet next week” would trigger the mobile phone to switch to the calendar and show next weeks meetings. That was just a simple example. The question still remains, where are the good stuff that leverage what I say when I talk?

Invited speaker at MEX2010

Last week, on the 19th of may, I attended the Mobile User Experience Conference (MEX2010). MEX is an industry strategy forum exploring the techniques and strategies for creating great mobile user experience in a multi-platform digital environment. It was a great two-day event and as an invited speaker, I was given the opportunity to share some of the insights from the work in our research group as well as from our start-up IDEAviate. My topic was “Multi-platform user experience design – learning from crisis situations”.

It was great to network with industry people to learn more about what frame their thinking. One of the most valuable things was to talk with Heather Martin, Director of Interaction Design at Smart Design, on all the opportunities that exists for designing really innovative solutions that targets voice in broad terms and not just as a simple voice-to-text interaction. It was very clear that Heather had a great balance between practical design experience and theoretical base for her ideas. MEX2010 was a great conference.

Comment on potential misuse with live-video

Our work with LiveResponse has now even found its way to New York Times website with Janko Roettgers from GIGAOM and industry blogs such as TMCnet with Kelly McGuire. This did not happen by accident but as a result of a Bambuser press release. Anyway, two of the commentators that published a story about our work with Bambuser elaborate on the issue if LiveResponse could mean that emergency responders will take the chance to also sell video streams to commercial news actors. These ethical dimensions of technology use are critical and should not be ignored. As a designer, we are responsible to also be held accountable for misuse. Our job is to maximize intended use, minimize non-intended use while at the same time provide generative properties so the users can to some extent invent unanticipated positive-use. Balancing between positive aspects and negative consequences are delicate, yet critical. In the LiveResponse solution, we have made our very best in making sure that no video is stored on the mobile handset. The video is transfered to a secure and protected website. Still, we can never claim that misuse will never happen. However, we have also embedded traceability and made this traceability visible to the users so they as professionals can provide a sense of social control that could block some types of unethical use. Still, at the end of the day, if someone wants to broadcast and sell live video from an accident site, why bother do it using the LiveResponse solution. Instead, I would imagine that such people will use an unregistered private cell phone and broadcast directly to the target area in mind.

Having said this, unethical use will for a long long time be a topic that we must spend considerable time on and make sure that we protect peoples integrity while at the same time enable professional responders to make efficient response operations.

LiveResponse is finally here as a commercial service

In the last few years, our research team has been working with a small project on bringing live video broadcasting to the crisis and emergency response community. Our design work and extensive evaluation activities has now resulted in a product that no longer is just a good research app, but an application that we can offer to any organization across the world.

LiveResponse is the result of a highly successful collaboration with the people behind the award-winning Bambuser live video service. LiveResponse is a modified and extended version that targets crisis and emergency responders. To make LiveResponse available, it has been necessary to setup a legal company along with all necessary legal documents in order to release LiveResponse from the research lab environment. We have just made a small step along an exciting road. If your are interested in what mobile live video broadcasting from ordinary cellphones could do for your organization, please visit www.liveresponse.eu

Web Server on your cellphone – a new design space

Last night, I successfully installed Nokias Mobile Web Server on my S60 cellphone. I have been aware of this service for some while but I never really took the time to install it, until now. My reaction to the experience of accessing my cellphone via my laptop web browser was significant. Like a kid on christmas day. The web server is a stripped down apache server with som add-ons. The Nokia software opens up the mobile phones functionality so you can do many nice things in a remote mode. My mind goes a bit wild when I in a hands-on-fashion explore what it could mean that all mobile devices are connected to the internet. The range of new solutions seems endless. For emergency and crisis response, it might mean that we could design and deploy solutions that in new ways provide connectivity across a network of response actors. There is no longer a need to add yet another device such as a tabletpc just in order to provide a two-way data communication. I hope that we in a short time will be able to publish some desirable concepts that shows the possibilities for Swedish Emergency and Crisis Response. Until then…have a look at: http://mymobilesite.net/

Talking at EASC09

On October the 2nd, I will give a talk on Societal Security 2.0 at the Euro-Atlantic Stakeholder Conference in Stockholm, organized by MSB and DHS.

Title: Societal Security 2.0 : Using mobile consumer terminals and Social Media applications on secure and robust mobile broadband networks on a mass scale.

Abstract: Crisis response and society security will in the coming years face completely new challenges. The old military-like solutions based on a hierarchical command and control structure will be obsolete due to its inflexibility and high costs.

We tend to design for yesterdays problem and we often lack the capacity to look deep into the future. In order to reach Societal Security 2.0, we as researchers, designer, technology providers and policy makers must make a radical shift in our current thinking. Instead of centralized super-stationary command centers with over-whelming computing capacity, we must aim for super mobile organizational structures with distributed capacity on a massive scale.

The future for situation awareness is not found in proprietary technology and data fusion centers but in consumer electronics, commercial networks and the power of the many in a crowd-sourcing approach. Sweden must make a dramatic shift for society security and crisis response that fully embraces mobile consumer technology, the next generation social media applications and robust commercial mobile broadband networks. The future is all about providing mobile capabilities into the hands of local and regional organizations on a massive scale. Information will be produced and consumed using the mobile terminals we always have ready-at-hand in any situation we will face.

Outbreaks near Me : Iphone App

The Swineflu (A)H1N1 has now also made its footprint on the IPhone in terms of an interesting application from the people behind HealthMap.org. If you have an Iphone, have a look at it and please provide feedback on how you experience the app.

With HealthMap’s Outbreaks Near Me application, you have all of HealthMap’s latest real-time disease outbreak information at your fingertips. Open the app and see all current outbreaks in your neighborhood, including news about H1N1 influenza (“swine flu”). Search and browse outbreak reports on the interactive map, and set up the app to alert you with a notice automatically whenever an outbreak is occurring in your area. If you spy an outbreak, be the first to report it using the app’s unique outbreak reporting feature. You will get credit as a disease detective and your find will be featured on the website.

Mobile Crisis Response App-store

Today, I had an excellent talk with Aida and Negar at the Software Engineering & Management Program at the Department of Applied IT at the Gothenburg University. Aida and Negar has started to work on a project where they will explore the idea of a work-domain specific app-store for crisis response. Such type of an App-store is to some extent i sharp contrast to the platform specific App-stores developed by Apple. Google, RIM, Nokia, SonyEricsson, and LG. Aida and Negar presented their results from an initial survey of the different platforms and it was evident in the discussion that followed, that Iphone and S60/Nokia platforms are to underlying complexity and the need to have a “certified/signed” application.
In their work, they will instead focus on the Android platform and Windows Mobile. Android feels very fresh, but Windows Mobile is from my perspective not the hottest platform for innovative design. But there are many many Windows Mobile devices out there, especially among higher ranking managers in organisations dealing with crisis management. The installed base should always be considered.
Aida and Negar is now moving forward with their project and the next step will be to learn more about Android and Android Market. Insights from the platform and the App-store( or market) will provide valuable input for requirement specification and design. During the autumn, the perhaps provoking plan is to open up a small but working App-store for the Swedish Crisis Response Community. Anyone that would like to contribute in this work are welcome to join in this exciting effort.

Live video in emergency response work becomes more common

Yesterday, Mats Bomström at the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) informed me about the news that FDNY is now using live video as part of emergency response work. According to the news, FDNY use live video in order to provide safety on location when there is a risk for building collapses or other types of risks for their own personnel. What is a bit exciting here is how they use live video not only to provide a “situation view” for the command centre, but activley use the video as material for decision making on the accident site. Read more at Wall Street Journal

Nödknappen för Iphone, en bra idé men säljer den?

Mobiltelefonen som överfallslarm har som koncept utforskats i flera omgångar de senaste åren. För Iphone finns den mycket snygga applikationen Safety Button från det svenska företaget Sillens AB. Applikationen finns att ladda ner via Iphone App-store. Dock verkar försäljningen gå trögt trots att själva idén med applikationen är ganska god och ligger när den typ av rationella funktioner som konsumenter ibland efterfrågar.

“Nödknappen för iphone – ett program som låter dig sända iväg ett nödrop och din position med sms – har sålts till 2 000 användare i USA sen det kom för tre månader sen. Fler än 900 använder programmet aktivt, det vill säga har det påslaget då och då. I Sverige har bara 36 personer köpt det.” Enligt Eva Wieselgren verkar det bara finnas ett begränsat intresse. Läs mer på hennes blog.

Läs också mer om applikationen på http://www.safetybuttonmobile.com/

Crisis Response App-store?

In the last few weeks, I have started to become more and more interested in how the whole App-store phenomena might be used in the emergency and crisis response domain. Would it be possible for a consumer oriented business model work in our domain? What are the key issues that must be solved in order to provide a US or European Crisis Response App-store?
Or if we shift perspective, Why would it fail? I would be more that happy to hear your insights on this topic.

A conceptual illustration with some of the current and future applications in Swedish Emergency and Crisis Response: